As reported in local newspapers, Menlo Park transportation commissioner Katherine Strehl signed on to handle publicity for the California High-Speed Rail Authority earlier this year.
The new job means she'll have to recuse herself from any discussions and votes on high-speed rail that come before the Transportation Commission, which Ms. Strehl has served on since April 2010.
"Frankly I don't think many high-speed rail issues will come to the commission," she said. "The council has a subcommittee that deals with high-speed rail. I don't speak for the rail authority and it's not my job to try to influence the council."
Previously handling external affairs for BART, Ms. Strehl described her new role as coordinating statewide education and outreach by the rail authority to communities along the proposed rail route.
Meanwhile, in September Menlo Park joined with Palo Alto and Atherton in filing a lawsuit to challenge certification of the environmental impact report for HSR.
Attorney Stuart Flashman, who represents the cities, said this lawsuit examines different aspects of the project from a lawsuit filed in 2008, such as widening its right-of-way and eliminating tunnels as an option for the Peninsula segment. The case is currently meandering its way through the courts.